Executive Director/Chief Elections Officer: Brian Mefford
Board Members: Tom Nolan, Bruce Barcelo, David Wilcox
When not serving pro-bono as President of the Committee for Open Democracy, Tom Nolan heads The Nolan Group, a firm specializing in political communications. Starting in 1990, Tom has handled message development and delivery in over 160 campaigns with a win rate of 80%. His clients have included Congressman Dan Miller, Frank Brogan for Florida State Education Commissioner, Mayor John Delaney of Jacksonville, Mayor Wayne Poston of Bradenton, former State Senator John McKay, former State Representative Mark Ogles, former Speaker of the Florida House John Thrasher, plus other State Senate and House members, as well as numerous County Commission, City Council and Judicial candidates. He is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with a BA in History.
Bruce Barcelo is a respected public opinion researcher whose ability to chart democratic reform has been instrumental in several emerging democracies. Since 1996, he has led democracy building efforts in Georgia, Ukraine, Haiti and Afghanistan. Bruce also founded and runs Barcelo & Co., a Jacksonville-based polling firm that has built a 90 percent success rate in contests including not only political candidates but also tax referendums generating more than $25 billion dollars.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Bruce is a trustee for Florida State College and vice chair of the Florida Coastal School of Law Foundation. He is a recipient of the Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Award, the Baha’I Faith’s Unity Award. Bruce was also named one of Florida’s 174 most influential people by Florida Trend in 2004, and Man of the Year by Folio Weekly in 2002. Groups in which Bruce has been involved include the Florida and Jacksonville Regional Chambers of Commerce, Leadership Florida, the MountainTop Institute, the Florida Children’s Campaign, the United Way, Junior Achievement, the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., and the Republican Party.
David W. Wilcox serves both as a COD Board Member and Chief Legal Counsel, while also serving as President of his own private-practice law firm. With more than 30 years of experience as an attorney, Mr. Wilcox has earned an established position in Florida as a tremendously capable attorney, holding the highest possible ranking from Martindale-Hubbell legal research service. Mr. Wilcox is a Florida native, a Vietnam-era veteran, and graduated from Florida State University with honors. He is a published legal author, has served as Governor’s Attorney, and is also Chairman of the Board of Coast Bank of Florida, in addition to being active in the American and Florida Bar Associations.
Brian Mefford is a business and political consultant based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Born in Barstow, California, he is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, with a degree in Business Administration. After college Brian worked in the banking and financial sector, while also gaining substantial experience in political campaigns. Mefford began his work in Republican Party politics at the age of 16 and won his first elective office at the age of 18. He was active in Arkansas politics and was appointed by then Governor Mike Huckabee as a Member of the State Gifted and Talented Education Commission. In 1999 he joined International Republican Institute, serving this respected institution for more than 10 years in Ukraine. During that time, Brian provided thousands of hours of training on political strategy, polling, party organization, and political communications, among many other subjects, conducting similar work in more than a dozen other countries, and formally serving as an international election observer on 25 separate international elections. From 2009-2010 he worked as an adviser to Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. He is a recognized expert on Ukrainian politics, and in 2010 was named by the Kyiv Post Newspaper as one of the 20 “Most Influential Expats in Ukraine” as well as quoted by National Public Radio, the Financial Times, and other media. Mefford works as a business and political consultant based in Kyiv, Ukraine.